Former Tennis Star Reveals 2016 Retirement Was Linked To 18-Month Ban - UBITENNIS
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Former Tennis Star Reveals 2016 Retirement Was Linked To 18-Month Ban

The former world No.66 says she was suspended from the sport after engaging in a fight with another player following one of her matches.

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Ekaterina Bychkova (image via Wikicommons)

A top 100 player who stunned Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round of the 2005 US Open when she was the defending champion has made a shock revelation about the reason why she retired from the sport.

 

Ekaterina Bychkova, who peaked at a ranking high of 66th in her career, was a familiar face on the women’s Tour that played in 15 Grand Slam main draws between 2005-2011. During her career, she won 10 ITF singles titles and five in the doubles. She hung up her racket in 2016 after playing one qualifying match in St Petersburg but the decision to retire wasn’t entirely her choice.

In a recent interview Bychkova revealed for the first time she was slammed with a 18-month suspension from the sport after engaging in a fight with another player. The incident took place following her match against Slovakia’s Kristina Kucova at an ITF $100,000 event in Nanjing, China.

“In the third set Kuchova began to suffer from convulsions (cramps). But according to the rules, you cannot call a doctor for convulsions and you cannot lie on the court for five minutes. However, she lay on the court for several minutes, then the supervisor came, who said that it was not a seizure, which means that a break was needed. He clearly sympathized with her,” she said during an interview with website Bookmaker Ratings.
“Kuchova returned to the match and immediately began to serve powerfully, kick the ball and move well. She was released psychologically, but on the contrary, I was shackled.”

A furious Bychkova ended up losing the first round match 7-5, 6-7(1), 3-6, to Kucova who is currently ranked 149th in the world. Although the incident between the two players didn’t take place on the court. It occurred later on that day when they crossed paths again.

“I was asked to take a walk for 20-30 minutes. Suddenly this beauty floats past me, cheerful. I broke down and started a fight,” she said.
“Two days later, the supervisor announced to me that our fight was on camera. It was a hostel on the court grounds, not an official hotel, and in fact the fight did not take place on the territory of the tournament.”

Reflecting on her actions, which was caught on CCTV, the Russian says they were in no way justifiable and she regrets how she reacted. Not only did she end up with a 18-month ban from the sport, she was also fined $3,150.

At the time Bychkova said she had the option to appeal the decision but opted not to do so because she didn’t want to go through the process of hiring lawyers and travelling to London for an ITF hearing. Claiming that the fight didn’t actually occur on the tournament site but at a hostel located on the surrounding grounds. She also said her decision to not to appeal was because she was ‘tired of tennis.’

Now at the age of 35 she has decided to give playing professional tennis another go. This week she played her first match in five years at an ITF event in Moscow where she lost in the first round to world No.611 Anastasia Tikhonova.

There has been no public comment from Kucova regarding Bychkova’s account of what happened in China.

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Lorenzo Sonego and Andrea Vavassori claim the doubles title in Cagliari

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An all-Italian doubles team formed by Lorenzo Sonego and Andrea Vavassori claimed the doubles title at the Sardegna Open in Cagliari with a 6-3 6-4 win over Simone Bolelli and Andres Molteni n 75 minutes. 

 

Sonego and Vavassori got the first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Bolelli and Molteni broke straight back in the fifth game for 2-3, but Sonego and Vavassori claimed their second break to win the first set 6-3. Both teams traded breaks in the second and third games of the second set. They held their service games in the next five games before Sonego and Vavassori sealed the second set with their decisive break in the ninth game. 

Sonego and Vavassori, who both come from Turin, had beaten Marcelo Melo and Jean-Julien Rojer in the Cagliari first round. They have become the first Italian doubles team to clinch an ATP title on Italian soil since Giorgio Galimberti and Daniele Bracciali in February 2005 in Milan. 

Sonego will bid to become the first player to win the singles and doubles titles at the same tournament since Feliciano Lopez at the Queen’s in London in 2019. 

The last Italian player to score a double title was Matteo Berrettini, who won the singles and the doubles tournament with Daniele Bracciali in Gstaad 2018. For the first time at least three Italian players have contested an ATP Tour doubles title since Casablanca 1998 when Andrea Gaudenzi and Diego Nargiso beat Cristian Brandi and Filippo Messori.

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Pablo Carreno sets up all-Spanish final against Jaume Munar in Marbella

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Last year’s US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta battled past his compatriot Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-5) in an all-Spanish semifinal to secure his spot in the Any Tech 365 Andalucia Open in Marbella. 

 

Carreno Busta has improved his head-to-to-head record against Ramos Vinolas to 3-1. 

Carreno Busta raced out to a 5-0 lead with a double break to win a one-sided first set 6-1. Ramos Vinolas won just one point from ten on his second serve. 

Ramos Vinolas bounced back by winning the second set 6-3 with just one break in the fourth game. For the 12th time in his last 13 matches, Ramos Vinolas sent them into the third set. 

Ramos Vinolas went up a break in the third game and was just two points from victory as he served for the match at 5-4. Carreno Busta broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 after a double fault and a forehand error from Ramos Vinolas. 

Carreno Busta converted his third match point to seal the third set after 2 hours and 11 minutes securing his spot into the eighth final of his career. 

“It was so close. I don’t know what happened in the second set. At the beginning of the match, I was very focused on my game and my aggressive. After that, Albert started to push back more I started to lose my level a little bit. I just kept fighting all the time, and I want to thank everyone in the crowd for their support. This is what we missed last year, the crowd. It’s very important to play these close matches with a crowd like that”, said Carreno Busta.

Carreno Busta set up an all-Spanish final against Jaume Munar, who beat Carlos Alcaraz 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. Alcaraz got an early break in the second game of the opening set, but Munar broke straight back and saved a break point to hold serve at deuce for 2-2. Alcaraz earned an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead, but Munar won seven of the next nine points with two mini-breaks to claim the tie-break 7-4. 

Munar converted his fourth break point in the second game after five deuces to take a 2-0 lead. Alcaraz broke back at love in the third game and held serve at deuce to draw level to 2-2. After four consecutive on serve Munar went up a break at love in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Alcaraz broke straight back at love for 4-5. Munar sealed the second set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game.

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Lorenzo Sonego reaches his third career final in Cagliari

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Lorenzo Sonego battled past Taylor Fritz 6-4 5-7 6-1 after 2 hours and 39 minutes to advance to the final of the Sardegna Open in Cagliari. 

 

Sonego is one match away from becoming the first Italian player to clinch an ATP Tour clay-court title on home soil. Former world number 25 and current Italian Davis Cup captain Filippo Volandri was the last Italian player to win an ATP Tour on Italian soil, when he beat Nicolas Lapentti in Palermo 2006. 

Sonego converted his sixth break point with three powerful forehands in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Fritz broke back in the eighth game with a deep forehand to draw level to 4-4, but Sonego earned an immediate break to love. 

Sonego reeled off five consecutive games from 4-4 to build up a 6-4 3-0 lead with a break in the ninth game of the first set at love and two breaks in the first and third games of the second set. Fritz pulled back both times to draw level to 3-3. The US player earned his third break in the 12th game to claim the second set after 64 minutes when Sonego hit a backhand into the net. 

Sonego started the third set with an early break in the first game with a drop shot. The Turin-native player went up a double break with three consecutive forehands to take a 3-0 lead. The 2019 Antalya champion raced out to a 5-0 lead with his third break. Fritz pulled one break back in the sixth game for 1-5 but Sonego sealed the third set 6-1 with his fourth break to secure his spot in his third career final and his first title match on clay. Last year he upset Novak Djokovic in the semifinal before finishing runner-up to Andrey Rublev in the final at the Erste Open in Vienna. Yesterday Sonego came back from one set down to beat Yannik Hanfmann 3-6 7-6 6-3 in the quarter finals. 

Sonego will take on Laslo Djere, who cruised past Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2 6-0. Djere broke twice in the third and seventh games and got three consecutive breaks in the third set.

Djere dropped just one set against Lorenzo Musetti this week. He becomes the second Italian player after Andreas Seppi to reach finals on all surfaces after winning his first title on grass in Antalya 2019 and reaching the Vienna 2020 final on indoor hard-court last year. Sonego has also qualified for the doubles final alongside Andrea Vavassori against Simone Bolelli and Andres Molteni.

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